Author: Banana Yoshimoto
Publisher: Grove Press
Date of Publication: 2006 (first published in Japan in 1988)
Number of Pages: 152
This book contains two stories, Kitchen and Moonlight Shadow, both told through the eyes of a pair of contemporary Japanese women.
In Kitchen, a young woman named Mikage Sakurai struggles to overcome the death of her grandmother. She gradually grows close to one of her grandmother's friends, Yuichi, from a flower shop and ends up staying with him and his transgender mother, Eriko.
In Moonlight Shadow, a woman named Satsuki loses her boyfriend Hitoshi in an accident. She becomes friendly with his brother Hiiragi, whose girlfriend died in the same crash. On one insomniac night out walking she meets a strange woman called Urara who has also lost someone.
About the Author
Banana Yoshimoto, born as Mahoko Yoshimoto, is a Japanese contemporary writer. She is the daughter of Takaaki Yoshimoto, a famous Japanese poet and critic. Her sister Haruno Yuiko is a well-known cartoonist in Japan. While in Nihon University Art College she took the pseudonym "Banana" after her love of banana flowers. Yoshimoto was awarded the 39th edition Best Newcomer Artist Recommended by the Minister of Education in August 1988 for Kitchen and Utakata/Sankuchuari. In 1989, she was awarded the 2nd Yamamoto Shugoro Prize for Goodbye Tsugumi. In 1994, her novel Amrita was awarded the Murasaki-shikibu Prize. She was also awarded several prizes in Italy while in 2011 her novel The Lake was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.